Songwriter - Pianist

Chords That Eventually Find the Tonic

In music, the tonic chord is the one that represents the key. So for a song in C major, C is the tonic. To use a metaphor, it’s home. Progressions may meander around seemingly aimlessly, but once you play the tonic chord, you sense relaxation: you’re home. Are you a chords-first songwriter? Are you getting […]

Songwriter- Writer's Block

Looking For a New Tried and True

Tried and true refers to anything that is a proven success. In most things in life, you’re doing well to look for a tried and true method. These days we might call it a “life hack.” But no matter what it gets called, tried and true won’t let you down. Except… it can let you […]

Piano - songwriting

How to Create Interesting Moments Within Strong Chord Progressions

There are songwriters that like to use complex progressions that really take us on an intricate musical journey. But the fact is that most of the time, particularly in popular music genres (pop, country, folk, etc.), chord progressions are largely predictable. No songwriter I know likes to use the word “predictable” in describing any aspect […]

Imogen Heap

Grabbing Attention In Pop Songwriting

When songs are boring to audiences, don’t expect them to be able to say exactly why they’re bored. Most people can say what they like about a good song, but are less able to say specifically what isn’t working about a bad one. When a song sounds boring, it simply means that little or nothing […]

Singer-Songwriter

Making Use of Musical Ambiguity in Your Songwriting

There is a pattern you’ll notice in most pop songs, which is that as they move along, they alternate between sections that are ambiguous in nature and sections that are much clearer and easy to understand. I like using the terms “fragile” and “strong”: In many songs, that “fragile-strong” labelling is synonymous with “verse-chorus” structure. […]

Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers

Coming Up With Creatively Predictable Chord Progressions

A chord progression is the one element that doesn’t overly hurt a song if it’s predictable. Creative songs are still being written using the tried-and-true I-IV-V-I progression. It’s the uniqueness of the melody and lyrics (and all the related bits such as phrasing, rhythm. etc.) that really matter. Having said that, there’s something nice about […]